NEWARK, NJ - Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that the Essex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating a hostage situation in Newark that ended with a Newark police officer fatally shooting the suspect, Sean Sharpe, 54, of Orange.
The incident began shortly after 9 PM on Friday Dec. 14 when the victim and her 11-year-old daughter returned to their Irving Street home and discovered Sharpe inside the home. Sharpe took his ex-girlfriend, who had an active restraining order against him, hostage at gunpoint, forcing her out of the house.
The little girl was able to call police and subsequently escaped.
When the first Newark police officers responded, Sharpe was holding the victims, his ex-girlfriend and her child. When the Newark police officers, including the SWAT Team, arrived on the scene, the girl was able to escape from the suspect as he had the weapon on the mother. The child was immediately placed in an officer’s vehicle for safety.
For seven and a half hours Newark police officers negotiated with the suspect and used non-lethal measures to try to get Sharpe to surrender. Those efforts were unsuccessful. Just prior to the police shooting, the suspect pointed his weapon at the victim's head and then at police. The investigation reveals that the suspect repeatedly stated he had no intention of surrendering to law enforcement.
At approximately 5:30 AM on Saturday, Dec. 15, Sharpe was fatally shot by police. The woman escaped without physical injuries. The suspect was pronounced dead at 5:50 AM.
Consistent with Attorney General Guidelines, the investigation is being handled by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Bureau, which is responsible for investigating all police involved shootings in Essex County resulting in serious injury or death.
The investigation is active and ongoing. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.